Both rural and urban areas have much to offer travelers - although in very different ways. The countryside isn't for everyone, just as fast-paced cities allow some to thrive while inducing panic attacks in others. Before deciding whether to choose a city or country break, ask yourself the following questions.
What pace do you want your trip to go at?
Cities tend to move at a faster pace than more rural areas. Consider if you're the type of person who gets anxiety when navigating bustling streets, or when you don't have a lot of accessibility to services. This may also boil down to whether youre looking to see a variety of sights or find inner peace.
Are you looking to pack your days with sightseeing?
As stated above, cities tend to offer myriad things to do. You can spend your morning in a museum, your afternoon taking in 10+ attractions on a hop on, hop off bus, and your night discovering Michelin-star restaurants or enjoying dinner and a show. That's not to say there isn't anything to do in the countryside; however, it will likely be a lot more limited. Depending on what type of trip you're looking to have, this isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it is something to consider.
Do you want to embark on some outdoor adventure?
What rural destinations tend to lack in options they make up for in outdoor experiences. You're more likely to find great hiking, scenic cycling, horseback riding, and camping under the stars away from the concrete jungle. These types of destinations also tend to offer accommodation choices like farm stays and ranches that offer immersion in the outdoor life.
Where do you live now?
For many, travel is all about experiencing something new and different. Because of this, it may be helpful to think about where you live now, and head somewhere that's completely different to gain a new perspective. Stepping out of your comfort zone also offers the opportunity to discover new sides to yourself you were unaware of before, like a talent for archery on a ranch or a love for avant-garde theater in a city.
Do you mind renting a car?
While to some the word road trip brings to mind images of the great open road and endless possibilities, others may look at renting a car as an expensive hassle. For those folks, cities like New York, London, and Sydney with extensive public transportation options are a great choice, as the swipe of a metro card can take you anywhere you want to go. Countryside destinations, on the other hand, often require you to arrange your own transportation.
Can you do both?
If you're reading this article its likely you're having a hard time choosing between these types of destinations. For those who would really like the chance to experience these two personalities of the destination you're visiting, why not split up your time between both? Some great pairings include New York City and The Catskills; Florence and Chianti in Italy; Adelaide and the Barossa Valley in Australia; Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast in Canada.
Are you a fan of slow or fast travel?
Slow travel is the idea of, well, traveling more slowly. It helps prevent travel fatigue, allows travelers to immerse themselves more fully in the destination they're visiting and is a more eco-friendly way to explore the world (less moving around equates to fewer carbon emissions). It's also a mindset, a way to calm your brain and essentially become one with where you are, experiencing the destination more as a local than a harried tourist. On the other hand, traveling in a quicker fashion allows you to see and do more. Typically, this type of travel involves packing days full of tours and sightseeing, leaving with a camera roll stuffed with photos.
In regards to country vs. city travel, often times rural destinations enjoy a more leisurely pace of life, making it a great fit for a slow traveler. On the other hand, the accessibility and endless options within cities make them a good choice for those who want to cover more ground.
How important is it to go off the beaten path?
I'm not saying there aren't interesting under-the-radar cities - there are plenty; however, as airports, trains, metros, and major attractions are in more urban areas, this is where tourists typically go. Rural areas are often reserved for the travelers who don't mind putting in the extra effort to visit less accessible places. If you want to get away from the tourists and have experiences not often talked about in guidebooks, a countryside jaunt may be for you; however, if you're the type of traveler who gets anxiety thinking about being off the grid, a city break might be a better fit.
What type of vacation do you prefer?
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